A year ago, we announced our investment in Bumblebee Spaces, a company that is creating a new way to live by unlocking the third dimension in your living space. Bumblebee hopes to alleviate escalating housing costs and rapid urbanization by making your space more useful with robotic, modular ceiling system. Users can store a desk, bed, closet, clothes and everyday items in the ceiling, which multiplies the usability of living space. For example, a small room can be a workout room in the morning, office during the day, a living room in the evening, and a bedroom at night. Here is a video of CEO Sankarshan Murthy explaining how it works.
The Bumblebee platform offers three core competencies:
- Modular: The hoist robot can be extended to add additional storage modules or furniture. The exterior skin of the robot and lighting can be customized.
- Safe: Safety is built in via software, electrical, and mechanical redundancies.
- Intelligent: Sensor fusion and AI systems enable users to store, search, and retrieve items contextually and on-demand through an intuitive onboard UX.
Today, housing is defined in square feet. In the future, it will be defined in cubic feet.
In the past year, Bumblebee has launched several outfitted units in San Francisco and Seattle that are being rented today. The company was also selected as one of 18 (among over 1,100 applicants) to participate in Ikea’s Startup Bootcamp, working on developing a seamless experience to organize home storage.
Today, Bloomberg is reporting that Rico Zorkendorfer, a key industrial designer from Jony Ive’s team at Apple, has joined Bumblebee. Rico’s presence at the company will bring both design expertise and credibility. It’s hard to understate the importance of design to Bumblebee’s product. The appearance and functionality of one’s living space are extremely personal elements, and the more personal a product is, the more critical design becomes. While Sankarshan, a former Apple and Tesla employee himself, is no stranger to design, a seasoned expert like Rico on board will ensure that Bumblebee’s living spaces are desirable, the key to broad adoption.
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